Computing terms explained in plain English
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Migration Authorisation Code. This can be requested from your old ISP when moving to a new one.
Media Access Control. A unique code that identifies any network adapter. A laptop PC might have one MAC for its wired network socket and another for wireless.
An automated series of commands or options can be run at any time. Handy if you often need to perform the same list of actions.
A setting on digital cameras that lets you get very close to objects so they appear bigger when photographed.
A technology used to prevent the copying of video tapes.
In image-editing programs, a tool that allows you to automatically select an entire area of a similar colour by clicking any part of it.
A tool that enlarges an area of the screen to make it easier to see.
Another term used for an email inbox, the folder where newly arrived email messages are stored.
A service that sends messages to all its subscribers.
A tool included in most word-processing programs that allows you to create letters or envelopes, each customised, using a list of names or addresses.
A computer on the internet that stores email messages until you read them, or handles the delivery of any messages you send.
A generic term for software designed to perform harmful or surreptitious acts.
In an image-editing program a mask is used to block off an area of the image, making it immune to changes.
A kind of template used in desktop publishing software. Anything on the master page will appear on every page of the publication.
Megabytes. A measure of storage capacity.
Megabits per second. A measure of data transfer speed, often used to measure the maximum speed of broadband connections.
Master Boot Record. The area on a hard disk that is checked by a computer when it first starts.
Megabytes per second. A measure of data transfer speed.
A measure of the amount of detail that can be recorded by a digital image. A one-megapixel image is made up of a million dots (pixels).
The computer's temporary storage area, usually measured in gigabytes (GB).
Small plastic cards that can be used by a computer, digital camera or other device to store files or photos.
A generic term for small memory storage devices that plug directly into a USB port.
A type of memory card made by Sony and used by some of its products.
A web page where users can post messages and replies to those written by other users.
A set of data that gives information about a file.
Multifunction Device. A combined printer and scanner.
Megahertz. A measure of speed used for memory and some older processors.
A socket on a computer for connecting a microphone.
Electronic components that are the building blocks of modern computers, each containing millions of transistors.
A device that splits an ordinary phone line so it can be used by both a phone and ADSL broadband.
A small type of memory card. Can be converted to SD size using an adapter.
A smaller version of SIM cards used in mobile phones. Commonly found in smartphones.
A version of USB even smaller than mini USB. Typically found on smartphones.
Musical instrument digital interface. A standard that enables compatible electronic musical instruments to communicate with computers. Also refers to a file format used to store digital music.
Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions. A standard used when sending information other than plain text via email.
A type of tape used in some digital camcorders.
A smaller version of USB designed for mobile devices such as hard disks.
A duplicate of a website, usually stored in a different location, used so that many more users can connect to it at once.
Multimedia Messaging. A system for sending images and sounds between mobile phones without using email.
A device that allows two computers to communicate via a phone line.
A user of a chat room or forum who can move, edit or delete posts.
The main circuit board inside every PC into which all other parts connect.
The shape, normally an arrow, shown on screen that moves with the computer mouse.
A type of video file that can be played using Apple's Quicktime software.
A method for compressing audio files, and the name for files created using this method. The sound quality of an MP3 file is close to that of an audio CD track, but it needs only a fraction of the storage space.
A type of digital movie file often used for portable players.
Motion Picture Experts Group. Describes a method of compressing digital video. MPEG1 compression gives VHS-quality video, while MPEG2 compression gives high-quality video with CD-quality sound. MPEG2 compression is used for DVD movies.
A standard for compressing digital content that maintains very high quality.
Microsoft Disk Operating System. The standard PC operating system before the dawn of Windows. Dos managed how files were stored on a PC. It was controlled through typed commands.
MPEG Transport Stream. A type of digital video file often used for high-definition movies.
Maximum Transmission Unit. The largest collection of data bits that a computer network can transmit.
Refers to material in a mix of formats, such as sound and video.
A collection of television programme, radio and data services that are broadcast together in a digital signal. Multiplexes are licensed by Ofcom under the Broadcasting Act 1996 except multiplex 1, which is operated by the BBC.
Touchscreen display on which you can use more than one finger at a time.
Found on the Windows Desktop or in the Start menu. Double-click on this and a window will appear, containing icons for your PC, as well as any peripherals such as USB memory keys.
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